Saturday, November 05, 2011

11/5 - Hot Chocolate 15K

Wow, crazy race.  So didn't get much sleep, just kept waking up, sleeping on a couch though. Was up early, ate a banana and a drink, then started getting dressed.  Was expecting it to be much colder than it turned out to be.  Wore a sleeveless base layer, the bright green short sleeve top and the race singlet (probably could have done without the 2 tops, next time maybe try just an under armor shirt.)  Put on the arm warmers, a sweatshirt, warmup pants, a cap and gloves and headed out for a taxi. Got to the start area and the 5k hadn't started yet, so TONS of people everywhere.  Race was delayed in starting by 15 minutes.
Did some light warmups over by the staging corrals, and almost missed them moving everyone to the starting gates. Really thought the starting area would have been better controlled... but it wasn't. I pushed my way up to the A corral, but was being held back by people with C corral stickers, and even saw some D corrals lined up in front of me. Regardless, I didn't plan on 'racing', and didn't feel like pushing up any farther, so figured I would just deal with it.
Once the race started, the front moved out pretty quick. I know I got caught up in the fast procession, but kind of expected it to break up and slow down pretty quick. It did break up, but didn't really slow down much. The tall buildings... and a tunnel during mile 1... really must have messed with the GPS on my watch. Mile 1 came very quick, and when I looked at the watch it showed a 5:46 time... Now I knew we were no where near that pace, but it did feel like we were going much faster than planned. So I tried to slow it down a bunch, even pulling the shirt up to adjust the heart rate strap (Note: need to get a new strap). Plus the course helped slow the pace.
There were a couple sharp turns and over passes during the beginning of the run. The corners actually seemed to be fairly open, and I was able to run tight to the curb and not slow down, which was a welcome relief... But the bridge overpasses were not fun.  The expansions were pretty wide grate patterns, and made for very un-sure footing.
Looking back at the GPS map is pretty humorous... if only the course had actually run through the buildings like it shows, LOL. The first 5K had a number or turns and twists, but still hit a 21:28 split. The next 5K section was pretty straight, heading due west out past the United Center, then turning left twice to head back to the finish. Hit a 43:13 10K split, which was faster than the Gumbo 10K last weekend oddly enough. The return path wa pretty straight too, up to a few turns in mile 8. Somewhere in all the turns, bridges, tunnels and buildings, I missed 2 water stops, and never saw mile 8 or 9 markers, but I thought I knew about where I was.
My legs had gotten pretty tired at this point, so I knew it was going to be a struggle to the finish, but tried to keep pushing on. The last half mile or so runs along the outside of the park, then turns up an overpass bridge into the park, and then left down the finishing row. Really couldnt pay attention to the cheers or crowds along the finish, but did see a funny sign on the next to last corner, "You have great stamina, Call me!" with her phone number... actually made me smile. Pushed it up the hill, and though I heard someone pushing behind me, so really tried to kick to the finish... which actually felt pretty good.
Told Lori to expect me at 1:12:00, guessing I would stay high 7-8 min pace, but finished in 1:04:22, so looked around for them for quite a bit. After collecting my finishers chocolates and finding the family, heading to the post race party area.
Holy crap did I throw nutrition and diet out the window. Chocolate fondue was awesome. Dipped everything I could find in it, plus using my fingers, and ready to drink it straight. We grabbed some hot chocolate and headed to some of the tents to see if results were posted anywhere. Ended up in a VIP tent where there was more 'dippables' and chocolate... so had some more, and then headed to find a cab back.... so I could shower and go get Chicago Stuffed Pizza!
All in all, pretty good race, and good trip.

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